LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) — The police chief on the Hawaiian island of Kauai has apologized after a discrimination investigation found he mocked people of Asian descent.
Kauai Police Chief Todd Raybuck, speaking in a video posted on social media, said his comments were “insensitive and improper as the chief of police,” The Garden Island newspaper reported last week.
“In hindsight, I recognize regardless of my intent, my words have caused people pain,” Raybuck said in the statement. “I look forward to the opportunity to apologize directly to those who have been hurt by my words and I hope that we may repair our relationships moving forward.”
The investigation by the Kauai Police Commission found Raybuck violated county discrimination policies and created a hostile work environment for an officer based on race.
Both are cause for “appropriate corrective action,” said a Feb. 26 letter written by commission chair Catherine Adams that was obtained by the newspaper.
Raybuck said he respects the findings of the Police Commission investigation and will accept any disciplinary action.
Raybuck, hired in 2019, said he has sought guidance and professional assistance over the last few months “to respond better to difficult situations, and I’m committed to the work that I’ve begun to improve myself and my relationships with others.”
“I’ve made my mistakes, but I’ve always looked to learn from them and done my best to get better and not repeat them,” Raybuck said.
Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami said the allegations don’t reflect the police chief he knows and works closely with.
The mayor said he felt “a deep obligation” to forgive if the allegations turned out to be true. They wouldn’t affect his ability to work with Raybuck, Kawakami said.
But the police union, the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, called for Raybuck’s resignation.
“These charges and findings involving blatant racism are appalling and will not be tolerated by SHOPO and our rank-and-file officers,” the union said in a statement.
The Kauai Police commission received an internal complaint against Raybuck in September.
The investigation found two incidents that year, on July 29 and Nov. 13, violated the county’s discrimination policy, according to Adams’ letter.
In one case, Raybuck “squinted his eyes” and bowed his head while mimicking someone with a Japanese accent, the investigation found.
In another incident, Raybuck relayed a story of meeting someone of Asian descent in a restaurant in which he parodied the person’s speech and mannerisms.
The complaint said the chief laughed and thought his demonstration was funny.
Raybuck became the Kauai police chief in 2019, following his retirement after nearly 27 years from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
Raybuck should be fired. There have been a number of high profile cases where Asians have basically said “They said sorry so let it go” when there is a racist act toward Asians. This contributes to the stereotype that Asians will not fight back and stand up for themselves which leads to more abuse. Kawakami saying he has a “deep obligation” to forgive is an example of this, and seems like a subservient attitude. Kawakami does not have a “deep obligation” to forgive racist acts, he has an obligation to stand up for his citizens that were demeaned by Raybuck’s actions. The fact that Raybuck uses the “regardless of my intent” line suggests that he is trying to minimize what he did, but at the same time act like he is sorry so he can keep his job. This is the standard: ” I said I didn’t mean anything bad so all I have to do is say sorry, jump through some hoops and then I should be able to keep my job” excuse. That’s ridiculous. Raybuck also says he made “mistakes” again appearing to minimize what are blatant racist acts. He needs to go.